Online education finds many takers, including Info Edge.
Online education seems to be the flavour of the season with both domestic and international investment companies in a frenzy to line up investments for the sector in the last couple of months. Recently, Karnataka-based Manipal Education and Medical Group invested $2.5 million in online tutoring company TutorVista (with this investment, TutorVista would have received a total of $15 million since it set up shop.).
In October, SAIF Partners, a venture capital firm, invested an undisclosed amount in ICA Infotech, a Kolkata-based non-IT training firm, and about $10 million in Vita, a Chennai-based English language fluency training institute.
Gaja Capital Partners invested $8.25 million investment in Career Launcher, a preparatory education company. Mauritius-based India-focussed fund Helix Investments picked up a 30 per cent stake in Mumbai-based preparatory company Mahesh Tutorials for $12 million.
Venture capital fund Helion Venture Partners has also forayed into the segment with an investment of $5.1 million in Mumbai-based Hurix Systems, a company that offers services across areas of publishing, corporate learning, K-12 education, animation & gaming, technology services and product solutions to global corporations.
Now Info Edge, which has online properties like Naukri, Jeevansathi, 99acres and Brijj, is looking at entering the education segment within the next 6-9 months.
According to Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Founder & CEO, Info Edge, “The education portal is not going to be an e-learning or content-based site but a marketplace for educators and information seekers. The model is going to be something similar to Naukri, with students logging onto the site to seek information providers.” The company hopes to monetise through contextual advertising and a fee from institutes/service providers for listing. “We are not going to sell or create educational content; we plan to be in the market place for information exchange,” he clarifies.
Bikhchandani feels valuations are too high in the segment for inorganic growth, even though the company has kept aside Rs 30 crore for acquisitions. For the time being, Info Edge has acquired 4-5 domain names, Shiksha.com being one of them, even though it hasn’t decided on one for the education portal.